Bulgaria will slaughter on Tuesday 300 sheep, goats, pigs and cows after finding 37 cases of foot-and-mouth disease in the southern village of Kosti in the Burgas region, the National Veterinary Service said.
A total of 530 animals will be killed in a bid to contain the spread of the disease, leaving local farmers, who eke out their meager agricultural income only thanks to the animals, high and dry.
The Bulgarian state has vowed to compensate the owners at market prices, but they fear the money won't be enough to rebuild their farms anew.
The government has introduced measures to contain the spread of the disease that does not affect people but can cause severe economic losses to the agricultural sector.
Experts from the European Commission will arrive in Bulgaria on Wednesday to help local authorities cope with the situation.
The foot-and-mouth virus is one of the most contagious animal diseases and can have high mortality rates in young animals.